Hundreds of parents sign petition over school rucksack row

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More than 500 parents have signed a petition to make Seaford Head School change its uniform policy following a disagreement about rucksacks.

A number of parents have complained about the price and quality of the Seaford Head School backpacks, with others also criticising the treatment of students who don’t have the correct bag.

One parent said, “A few months ago, I decided I wouldn’t buy another of Seaford Head School’s branded rucksacks – I bought three at £15 each over the last two years but they were substandard, with straps coming off and coming apart at the seams.

“However, I found out from my son that for the past few months, he has been having to queue up at the office door with the other ‘poor’ kids, or kids whose parents refuse to buy the new bags, where they have to hand in their non-school rucksacks in exchange for carrier bags. They have to queue at the ‘poor door’ at lunch and again after school.

“As if this wasn’t punishment enough, if he doesn’t buy the new school bag, he will be spending his school days in an ‘isolation room’ and will eventually be expelled.

“I think it’s a disgusting way to treat children and to ruin a child’s education for the lack of a logo is insane. I completely understand the need for a uniform but I don’t believe a rucksack is uniform.”

Helen Key, acting head teacher for the school, said, “The school introduced a school bag to ensure all students had an appropriate bag for carrying school equipment. Initially these bags were given out to students free to help with the cost. There have been issues with the quality of these initial bags and the school has been aware that some students do not like them.

“A senior member of staff has been working with students to find replacement designs for the bag. Four bags were chosen by the students and approved by the governors. The cheapest of these has been used by a student for nearly two years and has proved very robust. These bags will be available to buy in the next three weeks.

“Seaford Head School has a policy and procedures in place to support any family in financial hardship. Any family can write in confidence to the school to request financial support for uniform or other equipment. The school may arrange a payment plan or even supply the items free of charge.

“The school Governors would like to make it very clear no child should be disadvantaged because of financial pressures at home.”

See https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/make-seaford-head-school-branded-backpacks-optional.

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